Review: Initiated 8 years ago and assembled formally 4 years ago, world’s mightiest heroes—The Avengers is in a brink of division in Phase Three of Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) kicked off by Captain America: Civil War. Cap’s latest outing isn’t merely a direct sequel to The Winter Soldier; more, it’s a universal sequel to Avengers: Age of Ultron-—call it Avengers: Disassembled—and an introduction to a larger MCU.
In aftermath of New York battle and Sokovia incident—where, for the first time in MCU, collateral damage is taken into account—citizens of the world demands supervision to Avengers’ actions as manifested in a decree called Sokovia Accords. Justice-driven Steve Rogers a.k.a. Captain America (Chris Evans) stands immediately against the accords; meanwhile, guilt-ridden Tony Stark a.k.a. Iron Man is pro-Accords for he is feeling responsible for the damage. As schisms immediately consume the Avengers, a series of terrorism threats allegedly done by Bucky Barnes a.k.a. The Winter Soldier leads the initially strong-in-unity Avengers into bigger riffs.
Among all entries in MCU, Civil War is definitely the most mature in tone—not necessarily dark, but it’s more emotional than any previous entry. Deep inside, it depicts a war between ideology, motivation, and personality; and the writers take advantages of those overly known characters as if they do not need to remind audiences who Steve Rogers or Tony Stark is. Therefore, major conflicts in Civil War embark as a character-driven one—in which both sides are fighting the good sides with different good motivations. Great thing is, they keep digging on some unknown territory of our favorite characters—giving little twist to our judgement.
Big minuses are the duration, which is way overlong although I believe 150 mins are necessary to contain everything. Civil War is like an exhibition of scattered pieces; it really takes time to pull everything together. Noticeable sloppy editing has really made it a little jumpy and draggy at certain points. Fortunately, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely (having been with Cap since beginning) can patiently craft those pieces into a single civil war that make senses—focusing more on collateral damage and personal grudge as motors.
The civil war doesn’t seem as massive and as complex as it is in the comic books (as in viral expectation vs. reality memes), given the limitation in MCU. However, Civil War could compensate the lack of involved superheroes with a more personal conflicts. Civil War also makes use of the collateral damage issue effectively in moving the plot as the characters really takes the issue into concerns (compare to a gimmicky use of it in Batman v Superman).
There’s no ‘visible’ new things offered in Civil War to counter the argument that superhero movies are beginning to become worn-off; but, it somehow answers the criticism about MCU’s unnecessary villains. The main villain as well as the mastermind of the civil war, Helmut Zemo (Daniel Brühl) isn’t a merely super-villain; he’s got simple but profound motivation, but that’s what makes his character a worthy villain who successfully crumble an empire.
Similar to The Winter Soldier, action sequences especially fighting scenes in Civil War are harsh, dynamic—with shaky camera and quick cut at its finest—and inventive. Each Marvel hero gets a chance to show off with beautifully choreographed scenes. At most time, freshly introduced characters are stealing almost every scene they’re in and they’re surprisingly having bigger roles than expected. Tom Holland’s Spider-Man is coltish but he’s definitely the best Spider-Man on screen yet. Meanwhile, Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther is up for the standalone movie.
In the end, Civil War is a little bit convoluted in some parts, but Russos Bros along with the writers really know how to craft a civil war that makes sense. Focusing on collateral damage and personal grudge, it sometimes falls short on being jumpy and choppy, but still coherent. Civil War is a fan-service work that works, although The Winter Soldier is a more solid piece than this.
Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi, Adaptation Directed by: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo Written by: Christopher Markus (screenplay), Stephen McFeely (screenplay) Starred by: Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Daniel Brühl Runtime: 147 mins Rated PG-13